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Fisher replacement candidates on inside

1/28/2011

Here is what we know definitively about the Tennessee Titans' coaching staff:

  • Mike Heimerdinger is the offensive coordinator.

  • Incumbents at defensive line coach and running back coach have moved on.

  • Defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, who signed a one-year extension late in the season, was fired.

Heimerdinger signed a one-year deal late in 2010 that lined him up with Jeff Fisher’s contract.

Otherwise, we have no idea whether other staff members have signed one-year offers to remain with the Titans or managed to get a longer offer to stay, such as the one defensive line coach Jim Washburn was offered before he left for Philadelphia.

Three members of Fisher’s old staff could be considered as his replacement, though I tend to believe the franchise is best served making a bigger change now that Fisher is gone:

  • Heimerdinger is a strong, no-nonsense offensive coach, but he was diagnosed with cancer late during the season and started treatments. I presumed Fisher’s plans moving forward would include a contingency in case Heimerdinger were unable to work, or work completely. He's healthy enough to apply, but who knows what will happen going forward? It’s incredibly unfortunate that his health could get in the way of his candidacy as I think he could change the culture and would make things more interesting offensively.

  • Offensive line coach Mike Munchak is a Houston Oilers Hall of Famer who’s a favorite of owner Bud Adams. But he hasn't worked as a coordinator, let alone a head coach. He would command the players’ respect, but would need a strong defensive coordinator to manage the other side of the ball. I’ve known him since 1996, and don’t know that he would covet or be good at the face-of-the-franchise, daily media responsibilities.

  • Linebackers coach Dave McGinnis was head coach in Arizona from 2000 through 2003. But Fisher chose to bypass him for Cecil two years ago when Jim Schwartz left to become coach of the Detroit Lions. All indications were that McGinnis was fine with a young guy getting his chance while he continued to work hands-on with a position. It’s a position that was revamped in 2010 and was very unproductive.